Kentucky has a shot to move to 4-0 on the season and 2-0 in SEC play for only the second time since 1977 on Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (2-1). Here are the three keys to a Kentucky win.
By Steve Wright
Stop turning it over
Kentucky is the better team in this game. The Gamecocks have beaten the two teams that they should have and then got thumped by Georgia. This is their first real test under Shane Beamer in a game that their fans will expect them to be competitive, but it is still a rebuilding project at heart. In terms of talent – and coaching – Kentucky is better, but turnovers have been a massive problem with the team coughing up the ball eight times in three games. The turnovers allowed Chattanooga to stay close in a 28-23 win and the Gamecocks are more than capable of scoring points if given the ball in good field position.
Stop the running game
The South Carolina offense hasn’t been good yet, but there is no denying that it has the parts to do so. Running back Kevin Harris is one of the best in the SEC and he is getting his game back after back surgery behind an offensive line that has shown it can generate push. This could be an issue for the Wildcats as they have allowed offenses to convert on third down a ridiculous 45% of the time, a number that must be lower in order for this team to be its best version.
Levis to Robinson
The Wildcats will still run the ball – expect SEC leading rusher Chris Rodriguez to have a nice bounce-back week – but the reason that the Wildcats are better equipped to win games this season in different ways has been a pair of transfers. Quarterback Will Levi has built an instant rapport with wide-out Wan’Dale Robinson, with the Nebraska transfer becoming the first Wildcat ever with three 100 yard receiving games to start a season. Expect Robinson to test a defense that gave up two long touchdowns against Georgia last time out.